Posts Tagged Philip Davies MP
The Daily Express stepped up its crusade for the UK to cut ties with Brussels by calling for the planned referendum on electoral reform to be turned into a historic vote on EU membership.
Leading MPs and campaigners backed the move. Tory MP Peter Bone, of the Better Off Out group, said: “This is a splendid idea by the Daily Express. It makes absolute sense.”
“A splendid idea that makes absolute sense”, except that it is impossible. The wording of the referendum question is set out in the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act, which received Royal Assent on the 16th of February. There has to be a minimum of 10 weeks between the bill passing and the day of the referendum, so the Electoral Commission can decide which groups officially represent each side of the debate; if the question was changed or a new question was added, you’d need an amendment or a new bill to change the questions on the paper and that would reset the clock – especially since in this case, the Electoral Commission would suddenly be tasked with not only registering all pro-AV and anti-AV groups, but also pro-EU and anti-EU groups as well.
We’re now way closer to May 5th than 10 weeks; even if Parliament could somehow draft, debate and pass a European Referendum Bill in one night (and it would have to be Parliament – David Cameron doesn’t have any magical amendment powers here), the new question would need another 10 week waiting period. It simply could not be done any sooner.
Conservative MPs Peter Bone and Philip Davies, Labour MP Kate Hoey and UKIP MEP Nigel Farage all put their weight behind this idea even though all of them must know it wouldn’t be possible;* after all, the media made so much of the 10 week deadline that it would be impossible to be oblivious. Still, I’m sure they must have had important reasons to support something that would be illegal (trying to change a referendum question less than 10 weeks beforehand), unconstitutional (David Cameron pushing the amendment without support from either House) and impractical (writing, reading, debating, reporting on and passing a bill on an issue as critically important and controversial as the European Union in a matter of weeks) besides an excuse to get their names in the paper next to a burning European flag…
* Incidentally, at the time when it was possible – though still massively impractical – to put this question into the bill, none of the MPs proposed putting a question like this into the referendum. Funny, that.
Most papers today cover news that the Integrated Household Survey found roughly 1.5% of the UK population self-described as gay or bisexual. There’s a nasty undercurrent to most of the articles, although only the Daily Express makes their point explicitly:
But critics have said it raises questions about the importance placed on homosexuality.
Tory MP Philip Davies said: “An awful lot of focus in diversity issues is given to people’s sexual preference and this difference is not quite as widespread as believed.
“That said, I do not see what relevance it is to anyone else. Someone’s sexual preference is a personal matter and it calls in to question why anyone is bothered at all.”
Yes indeed! If we can just fiddle the statistics to downplay the number of LGBT people, then we can just sweep them under the carpet and stop being bothered with such irrelevant things!
So before I go any further, I’d like to point out that even if this survey is correct, and there are just 700,000 gay people in Britain, not 3.5 million, that wouldn’t mean that gay rights would become less important or relevant, as The Express seems to claim.
Sorry, this is going to be a very dry post today. I mean, unless you enjoy poring over lists of Government regulations in which case this will be your favourite blog post on the entire interweb.
The Express, and only the Express, today leads with “UK’s £10bn bill for EU red tape“. Clearly we’ve been buying a lot of tape.
The typical rent-a-quotes are out in force in this article; Philip Davies MP says:
“The vast majority of businesses don’t have any dealings with the EU. It’s particularly galling that they have to bear the costs of the regulations. When people realise how much the EU costs they will come to the conclusion that we would be better off out.”
“The cost of the red tape now exceeds the value of the business it is intended to regulate. It’s sheer madness, and not why we joined in the first place.”
Firstly, if you think the entirety of the British economy is now worth less than £10 billion, you are probably not a reliable source of economic information. Secondly, this article is oddly long on anger, short on facts.